56 Inspirations for Housebound Days

Post by Contributing Writer, Beth

The weather outside has been dreadfully cold where I live on the Canadian prairies. All this past week there has been a severe cold front hovering over the prairies, and it has been approximately minus forty (and worse) for about 5 days straight. Needless to say, we’ve been fairly housebound this week!

Because days like this are plentiful around here, I am always looking for good ways to keep the kids (and me!) from getting cabin fever. Here is a list of some of my favorite ideas. There is a good mix of parental hands-on stuff and kids-on-their-own stuff.  I chose items with the toddler/preschooler crowd in mind, but many of these could easily apply to older kids too.

  1. Tin Foil Exploration.
  2. Coloring. (If your crayons are all in bits, try making some recycled crayons!)
  3. Laundry. My three-year-old loves to help sort, throw the clothes in the machine, switch to the dryer, and then sort the clean things!
  4. Dance party. Get some groovin’ tunes going, then start dancing!
  5. Hide & Seek. Be sure to let them be both hider and seeker.
  6. Try a new recipe, like Peanut Butter Popcorn.
  7. Make/do something from your Pinterest boards.
  8. Finger painting in the bathtub.
  9. Reading stories. An obvious suggestion, but almost always a guaranteed success.
  10. Crunching egg shells
  11. Indoor Bubbles
  12. Playdough. Never fails to entertain my kids for quite a long time. Even my 18-month-old has fun with it (and you don’t have to worry about them eating it if it’s homemade!).
  13. Scissors and paper. My three-year-old has a total fascination with using a pair of safety scissors to cut a piece of paper into tiny little bits. It’s a bit messy, but he loves it! (A great use for old magazines or junk mail.)
  14. Puzzles.
  15. Legos.
  16. Make a blanket fort with tables, chairs, etc. and bedsheets.
  17. Make popcorn. My kids love watching the air popper!
  18. Make a snack tray. Use it as an easy lunch.
  19. Tickle fights. Pretend to be the tickle monster!
  20. Make a ramp for toy cars out of cardboard, couch cushions, or whatever you can find!
  21. Play board games – my three-year-old enjoys Uno Moo and Candyland.
  22. Learn a Bible verse. We memorized Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind to one another” by putting to the tune of “Frere Jacques” with a bit of a creative spin 😉
  23. Toilet paper madness
  24. Water exploration. Fill a sink with water, bubbles, cups, ladles, etc. Pull a chair up to the sink, and prepare for wet clothes and lots of fun.
  25. Take all the cushions off the couch and jump around, wrestling and giggling. Do the classic “pretend the floor is lava!”
  26. Stay in PJ’s all day and have breakfast for supper. Have a (gentle) pillow fight.
  27. Bring out a new toy that you’ve been saving. I sometimes tuck away a few of the kids’ birthday or Christmas gifts that they’ve received to bring out gradually over the next few months.
  28. Give the kids a ball of old yarn from your stash to unravel and play with.
  29. Make masking tape roads on your carpet for toy cars and trains.
  30. Let them help clean – scrubbing the floor, vinegar spray, sweeping, vacuuming, wiping mirrors, cleaning the tub are all favorites of my kids. You may have to “finish” the job, but they will be entertained and staying out of mischief while you get some cleaning accomplished!
  31. Sit down on the floor and roll a ball back and forth to each other. It’s amazing how much my kids love this simple activity.
  32. Do a photo-documentary of your day, with help from the kids.
  33. Build block towers, then roll a ball to knock them down.
  34. Trace their bodies on easel paper, decorate, and put them up on the wall.
  35. Look at digital photos on the computer.
  36. Look at their baby books & show them your wedding photos.
  37. Watch old home videos.
  38. Ask your kid to tell you a story. My three-year-old’s vivid imagination has come up with some pretty crazy tales!
  39. Snuggle up and listen to an audio book.
  40. Have a tea party. Invite stuffed animals/cars/trains/dolls. You could even bake something special for the party together.
  41. Have a fun lunch in the blanket fort. We have been known to serve popcorn with lots of butter and green smoothies for lunch on occasion.
  42. Toilet paper roll bowling.
  43. Write a letter/draw a picture for grandparents.
  44. Cardboard boxes can provide hours of entertainment. Build forts with them, cut out windows and doors, color on them – the possibilities are endless!
  45. If your toys seem to be taking over the house (again), go through them all and let the kids help you decide which ones to keep and which ones to donate.
  46. Gak.
  47. Try some geography. Show the kids a map of the world and let them ask questions. Follow their lead as to how interested they are.
  48. Brave the outside, even if just for a few minutes! Even at minus forty, I can take the kids outside for a ten-minute ride in their new sled, as long as they are well bundled. Rain won’t hurt either. Even just a little bit of fresh air does wonders!
  49. Have a puppet read a story to the kids. Don’t forget the silly voices!
  50. Play with real kitchen tools & foods (think pots, wooden spoons, canned goods, etc).
  51. Make rock pets.
  52. Skype or phone call with grandparents.
  53. Cloud Dough.
  54. Throw balls/beanbags in a laundry basket.
  55. Make pots and pans into drums and wooden spoons into drum sticks!
  56. Plant a seed in a pot.

What are your favourite things to do on indoor days?

Beth is a natural redhead, wife to a pilot husband and mama to (almost) 3 little ones. She is passionate about missions, motherhood, and finding the beauty in everyday life. She blogs from the Canadian prairies about the art and soul of audacious homemaking at Red & Honey.

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6 comments to 56 Inspirations for Housebound Days

  • Our housebound days are more likely to occur in July when it’s 110 out! Today my son is wearing a t shirt to play outside.


  • […] Read the list & leave me some comment love by clicking HERE… […]

  • So many good ideas!
    My kiddos also like scavenger hunts, taking trips in a cardboard box or laundry basket (complete with packing for the trip!), and playing with rice (this one is so messy but they have so much fun.).
    Oh and we also just started doing races where I count and they run from one point to the other while I count, it’s a good energy burner.

    I will admit, I am not much missing the frigid weather although I am missing many other things!


  • Great ideas! I had a child who loved cutting paper! Every day she would practice her cutting. I figured it was a small price to pay for some piece and quiet for awhile.


  • Sarah

    some of our favorite inside activities are:

    -wii games
    -mini sticks (hockey)
    -playing with cars
    -playing with rescue hero’s and the 4 year old sets them up as hockey players and will play with them for hours that way.
    -pretend to have a band and make up our own songs
    -work on the laundry together
    -go through toys and give away
    -make cards/pictures for other people
    -play basketball with the small net and ball from the dollar store


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